Gone but not forgotten, the LDV Maxus was the swan song of the UK’s only independent dedicated LCV maker. But should you see it as a bargain classic, or just run a mile? Ian Shaw finds out
The LDV Maxus was the last of a long line of vans built in the Midlands with British know-how, history and commonsense design. It has a history stretching back to the dark days of British Leyland and the long-serving Sherpa van, which was later badged Freight Rover before being rebranded the Pilot and Convoy under LDV. It’s popular to knock the old Sherpa, but it stood shoulder to shoulder with the Ford Transit in the Royal Mail’s fleet for years, and the police used minibus versions with 3.5-litre Rover V8 engines!
The Maxus was not the most sophisticated of its class, but built upon its forebears’ reputation for no-nonsense specification and a tough construction. It packed a punch too: four-cylinder 2.5-litre diesel engines ranged from 95hp through 105hp, 120hp and a range-topping 135hp option. All were built by VM Motori, the Italian diesel specialist later to become part of Daimler-Chrysler, which had previously supplied engines for Rover and Range Rover models. State-of-the-art Bosch common-rail injection meant good fuel efficiency and a whopping 20,000 miles between major services.
The Maxus has two wheelbase lengths and GVM ratings from 2.8 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes. All have unglazed rear doors and cab full-height partition for increased security, while ABS
and EBD were standard on all models from 2008, the higher output engines receiving these technologies as an option before that, while MP3-compatible CD players on 2008 models added a little luxury.
Cab interiors are otherwise functional with height-adjustable driver seat a worthwhile 2008 model enhancement.
At the business end, standard and high-roof derivatives offer large volumes and wide door swing angles, while side loading doors make for an easy van to live with. The MPT version in both Platinum and Titan guises offers the flexibility of a double-cab van with six seats, making it popular with, for example, utilities.
All in all, the Maxus is certainly worth a look, with few reports of anything frightening on the engine or drivetrain. Fleet vans will have a comprehensive service record so don’t let big mileages put you off.
The LDV Maxus is no spring chicken now and the WhatVan.co.uk used van locator reflects this, with most being around six years old or more. However, the prices, too, correspond, and it’s a lot of van for £3000. A 2008 3.5-tonne Maxus 95 LWB will command £3000 or so with 120,000 miles on it. A nice low-mileage (70,000 miles ) late 2008 long-wheelbase with full ply lining will fetch a grand more at £3999, and we found a gem of a Maxus: a one-owner from new, 2006 (56-plate) 95hp standard roof long-wheelbase with only 40,000 miles on it at just £3775.